SEAL team in Afghanistan to go green

It’s apparently not enough that Navy SEALs have to hope that their equipment works and that their commanders are prudent; now they’ll have to pray for sunny days, too.

From Environment & Energy News:

The Navy’s elite fighting force is going green.

A SEAL team deploying soon to Afghanistan will be net zero for energy and water, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced today at the service’s annual energy conference.

Not needing to operate noisy generators and not being reliant on water and fuel resupplies are battlefield benefits for the SEALS, who are known for under-the-radar, high-value missions like raiding Osama bin Laden’s compound this spring.

“We care a lot about our special operators,” Mabus said. “Allowing them to not have to be resupplied with fuel and water will make them even better at what they do.”

SEAL teams, which are often based in difficult-to-reach areas, need power for electronics, air conditioning and heating. For the green unit, those needs will be met with solar arrays, solar battery chargers and flexible generators, Mabus said. The unit will also deploy with portable water purification equipment.

Maybe the Obama administration thinks the greening of the SEALS will make the Taliban die laughing.

Click for a New York Times report on the Navy’s “energy warrior” school.

9 thoughts on “SEAL team in Afghanistan to go green”

  1. I can see the uses, but I’ll agree with Milloy. I don’t see this being primary equipment due to reliability issues.

  2. Can see a solar charger being part of a survival kit, but not primary equipment.

    If a SEAL’s mission relies on the absence of clouds, maybe the mission ought to be re-thought.

  3. I know a lot of these guys, most of them are thrilled at the thought of carrying 12 oz of solar charger instead of 2 lb of batteries – which if they get ‘extended’ for any reason will run out anyway, while the charger will last effectivly forever. The charger is light, flexible, and is usually strapped on top of the pack so it charges while they are on the move.
    Being green is very secondary to ALWAYS having power. There is no 7/11 to get more batteries.

  4. For the green unit, those needs will be met with solar arrays, solar battery chargers and flexible generators, Mabus said. The unit will also deploy with portable water purification equipment.

    This is all equipment in addition to what they need for their missions. They will need to transport it. They will be depending on it for their lives, in addition to ready sources of free water to purify. What kind of mind thinks this is a good idea?

    Do they double the personnel allotment for the total mission, or require that all members double as technicians (and engineers, given the state of the art)? Or do they only OK missions near suitable bodies of water, requiring only brand-new batteries, and scheduled for when their “climate scientists” have predicted 100% sunshine?

    I’ve been reading this blog almost daily for months now, and I think there’s something wrong with me. My friends say I’m an optimist because I’m a nice guy. Dunno. (Me shaking my head.) Anyway, back to the point, I’m shocked by ideas like this, particularly when I find out about them in the implementation phase! I think bottom-up dumbing-down must have caught up with the top.

  5. How about equipping them with one of the itty bitty nuclear power generators? Then they wouldn’t have to delay ops until the sun and/or wind came up. Just my contribution to the PCs.

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